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August 19, 2010TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama true freshman linebacker Alfy Hill has been deemed academically ineligible by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and has left the team.
Although Hill was initially approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse which allowed him to enroll at the university and go through offseason workouts with teammates, at issue are new standards regarding correspondence classes he took at West Brunswick High School at Shallotte, N.C.
"The eligibility center has declined to accept certain courses taken at Alfy Hill's high school as core courses for use in certification," Alabama compliance director Mike Ward said in a statement. "This has resulted in Alfy being deemed a non-qualifier. We will continue to assist the high school in their efforts to have the course re-evaluated by the eligibility center."
Tight end Harrison Jones, who was going to grayshirt this semester, has filled his spot on the roster.
Hill, a four-star prospect ranked 70th in the Rivals 100, was working at Jack linebacker behind expected start Courtney Upshaw, redshirt freshman Ed Stinson and junior Alex Watkins. Among his options are for him to attend prep school or a junior college or qualify through testing, but he's only allowed to take one class to enhance his core standing.
"We're going to try and appeal and make it work, but we all need to move on because who knows if we're going to get the appeal to work," Coach Nick Saban said.
"I feel horrible for Alfy. Good guy, worked hard, made really good grades over the summer."
In black jerseys and not practicing were freshman all-around player Blake Sims (dislocated toe), freshman cornerback DeMarcus Milliner (ankle), and sophomore defensive end Undra Billingsley (ankle). Sims may be out another week.
Safety Robert Lester, who sustained a concussion in last year's scrimmage, was back working with the first unit.
Although he wasn't wearing black on the practice field, signaling no contact, Chris Jordan wasn't doing much when reporters were allowed to observe. Working in his spot, both in the base defense and in individual drills was sophomore Nico Johnson.
Freshman safety Kendall Kelly, who's been out due to heat-related issue since his first practice, has still not returned.
Junior William Vlachos needed six stitches to close a gash above his nose Wednesday.
"(Courtney) Upshaw. Third-and-long, came on the blitz," he said. "Blood was everywhere. It was kind of cool."
Apparently the flap on the shoulder pad caught him almost quare between the eyebrows.
"That's the first time I've ever heard of it happening," he continued. "Coach (Joe) Pendry thought my helmet came down or something. Of course he played with leather helmets without a face mask, so he probably doesn't have a lot of compassion for something like this."
According to more than one player said the intensity has picked up since the veterans called a meeting Monday to clear the air. "It's picked up a lot," sophomore tight end Michael Williams said.
One of the reasons why Saban agreed to do the Gamechanger documentary that will be released next week was it was a lot easier to do than another book and not as time consuming. "I don't think it's about me, it's about Alabama's football program," he said. "That's some exposure that would hard to get any other way." He added that the all-access show on ESPN "was strictly for the fans ... From a program standpoint I thought it had a lot of value and benefit."
The Corey Grant experiment at cornerback is over. "He did a nice job," said Saban, who indicated his future is at running back. Meanwhile, Michael Bowman continued to practice at H-back.
Saban on the new Nike uniforms the team will use once this season: "The reason for it was the package that goes with it for the players is something the players are really interested in, and like, and enjoy, like the 'A' on the gloves," Saban said. "I can also tell you the change in the uniform is relatively insignificant relative to our tradition. I'm a traditionalist." Said Williams: "A uniform is a uniform, what's the point of looking good if you don't win?"
ESPNU will have an Alabama football marathon Saturday beginning with the A-Day game at 3 p.m., all five all-access shows (5 p.m.) along with the final special (7:30 p.m.) and the BCS National Championship Game at 8:30 p.m. Re-broadcasts of "Training Days: Rolling with the Alabama Crimson Tide" will re-air at 10 p.m. Monday, 5 p.m. Wednesday, noon Aug. 27, and 9 p.m. Sept. 1.
Alabama practiced outside in muggy conditions even though it was only 85 degrees with a 93 heat index. The team will hold a final practice at 3:30 p.m. Friday for the scrimmage before taking Sunday and Monday off. All practices are closed to the public.